Compulsory Land Expropriation
Withholding from ownership, either by restriction or by imposing restrictions on the wish of the legitimate owner, in itself constitutes a violent interference with the right to property, which in all countries with a free market economy is enshrined as the basis of our modern capitalist order. For this reason, any state should regulate the compulsory detachment of assets in such a way that the injured person does not become a public benefactor despite his will, while other colleagues benefit from increasing the value of their property at the expense of its loss. In doing so, “the damage caused by the compulsory deprivation of property should be restored in such a way that the owner is placed in the same position as before landing.”
Article 23 (4) of the Constitution provides the Republic, the Community Assembly, the Municipalities and legal entities of public law and utilities with the possibility of compulsory expropriation of property for the fulfillment of public utility purposes. The listing of the Authorities entitled to expropriate property has caused problems in the past, but in a recent decision the Supreme Court ruled that communities cannot have an autonomous right of expropriation because they are not legal persons governed by public law within the meaning of Article 122 of the Constitution.
Subject to the provisions of Article 23 of the Constitution and of the Compulsory Acquisition of Property Law 15/62, any property may be acquired compulsorily for a purpose which is to the public benefit.
Acquiring authority means:
- The Republic
- A municipal corporation
- A communal chamber
- A public corporation of public utility body on which a right to acquire property compulsorily is conferred by law.
Steps taken where immovable property needs to be acquired compulsorily:
- a notice is issued of the intended acquisition and published in the Official Gazette of the Republic.
- a copy of the notice of the intended acquisition is served upon any interested person. Where the person upon whom the notice is to be served cannot be traced, the acquiring authority shall obtain a confirmation from the president of the local authority (mukhtar) that such person cannot be traced and publish the notice in at least two daily local newspapers.
- call upon any interested person to submit to the acquiring authority within 30 days from the date of service of the notice any objection.
- proceed with all reasonable speed to the examination of any objections to the acquisition made and unless the acquisition is confirmed upon publication of an order of acquisition within twelve months from the date of publication of a notice of acquisition, the procedure shall be deemed to have been abandoned.
- within 14 months from the date of publication of the notice of acquisition, a written offer is sent relating to the compensation payable for the property so acquired.
Upon receipt of the offer, any interested person may:
- accept the compensation for full and final settlement of all his/her claims relating to the acquisition of his/her property.
- accept the amount offered reserving his/her right to apply to Court for fixing the final amount of compensation. In this case, he/she has to apply to Court within 75 days from the date of payment while at the same time he consents for the property to be registered in the name of the acquiring authority.
- refuse or ignore the offer. In this case either the acquiring authority or the interested person may apply to the Court at any time for the determination of the final compensation.
Where the whole property is subject to compulsory acquisition, the amount of the compensation shall be assessed with reference to the market value of the property as at the date of publication of the notice of acquisition.
Where only part of such property is acquired the compensation is also assessed with reference to the market value of that part of the property as at the date of publication of the notice of acquisition. In these cases the Law provides the set-off of betterment and compensation for injurious affection/severance, trade disturbance, reinstatement and any other damages or losses sustained by the owner on account of such acquisition. Finally it provides that an interest should be added to the amount of compensation starting from the date of publication of the notice of acquisition to the date of payment.
Expenses relating to professional advice
The affected owner has the right to obtain expert advice as to the compensation payable. In such case the acquiring authority bears the cost of the award and expense of the expert appointed by the owner.
Our Services include:
apply to the acquiring authority for damages
- mediate for the preparation of expert valuation report of the acquired land
- file a claim to the Supreme Court for damages
- represent client before the Supreme Court
- represent client before the Land Registry
- represent client before the tax authorities for the issuance of tax clearances necessary before damages are paid to client.